are among the most prevalent pests in households. They are also found in restaurants, hospitals, offices, warehouses, and other buildings where they can find food and water. On outdoor (and sometimes indoor) plants, ants protect and care for honeydew-producing insects such as aphids, soft scales, whiteflies, and mealy bugs, increasing damage from these pests. Ants also perform many useful functions in the environment, such as feeding on other pests (e.g., fleas, caterpillars, and termites), dead insects, and decomposing tissue from dead animals.


  • Workers are all the same size, small, 1/8-inch long
  • Uniformly dull brown
  • Musty odor emitted when crushed
  • Feed on sweets, fresh fruit, and buds of some plants
  • Tend honeydew-producing species
  • Forage for sweets and oils in homes
  • Travel rapidly in distinctive trails along sidewalks, up sides of buildings, along branches of trees and shrubs, along baseboards, and under edges of carpets
  • Colonies may split in spring and summer when queen and workers move to new site; not antagonistic toward each other
  • Found outdoors in soil, under wood, slabs, debris, mulch, or in branches and cavities of trees and shrubs
  • Nest is shallow, 1- to 2-inch deep mounds in open, often disturbed habitats, either moist or dry
  • Millions of ants per colony with multiple queens and many sub colonies


  • Workers are all the same size, small, 1/8-inch long
  • Dark brown to shiny black
  • Very strong odor when crushed
  • Feed on both dead and living insects, favoring aphid and scale honeydew
  • In homes, they forage primarily on sweets
  • They travel in wandering patterns and set trails
  • Trails common along branches of trees, foundations, sidewalks, baseboards and edges of carpets
  • When they are disturbed, they become erratic with their abdomens raised in the air
  • They live in shallow nests in soil under stones, wood or debris
  • They may nest in various habitats including wooded areas, beaches, wall voids and around water pipes and heaters
  • Large colonies with up to 10,000 workers and many queens